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CFP: 'Cultural Translations' Postgraduate Symposium, Malta, 15-16 April 2011
full name / name of organization:
Department of English, University of Malta
The Department of English of the University of Malta,
The first definition of the word ‘translation’ offered by the OED is ‘Transference; removal or conveyance from one person, place, or condition to another’. Understood in this way, it is apparent that translation’s relationship with literary and cultural texts is not simply that of a process whereby a particular text is rendered in another language. Translation is not only something done to a text. Understood in the broader sense, it is something that has occupied and exercised the literary and cultural imagination from its beginnings. This strange coextensivity takes us from Homer’s tale of the ‘translations’ of Ulysses, right the way up to Rushdie’s declaration that diasporic writers are ‘translated men’. Literary and visual culture has always told of journeys, loss, changes in condition or circumstance; even its very modes – metaphor, symbolism, irony, figuration itself – are arguably inherently translational. So although any mention of translation immediately and inevitably calls to mind what might be called ‘linguistic’ translation, on further consideration literature and visual culture seem to have always been preoccupied with what might be called ‘cultural’ translation. The distinction, however, is not an easy one. The border between the two is far from impenetrable and the linguistic is as prone to being carried over into the cultural as the cultural is to the linguistic. However one looks at it, then, translation is rife and arguably always cultural.
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